King Dunlap Contributes In Starting Role

Big offensive lineman King Dunlap discusses his first college start.

Auburn, Ala.--With preseason All-American Marcus McNeill watching the action on Saturday with a strained knee, redshirt sophomore King Dunlap got the call and says he had a blast in his first collegiate start.

The six-foot-nine tackle from Brentwood, Tenn., was one of the bright spots on offense in preseason with his improved play. In Auburn's 63-3 rout of Ball State on Saturday, Dunlap got to contribute to an unusually productive offensive performance.

"That was a big win for our confidence on offense," says Dunlap. "We definitely grew up and took a step forward. We got better this week."

Auburn's offense had eight possessions in the game and scored touchdowns each time. The offense totaled 572 yards with 390 on the ground.

"It was great fun," Dunlap says. "We were laughing and having a good time out there and getting the job done. We were working hard. When you score every time, the offensive line gets a lot of credit, especially with all of the rushing touchdowns we had."

Seven of Auburn's nine touchdowns were on the ground. One was on a kickoff return by Kenny Irons and another was on a pass from Brandon Cox to Ben Obomanu.

King Dunlap (77) can play both right tackle and left tackle.

Dunlap says he liked what he saw from Cox as the sophomore directed the Tigers on Saturday. "Brandon is a great quarterback," the lineman contends. "He went out and threw the ball like he was supposed to and we ran the football like we were supposed to. The offensive line got the job done."

On the down side, Dunlap says that his position coach, Hugh Nall, won't be happy with two penalties called on the big tackle.

"I don't know how I will grade, but I got a couple of penalties so that will probably grade me down a little bit," says Dunlap, who got his first start since his senior year at Brentwood, Tenn., High. "I got that facemask penalty and a clipping call. On the facemask the guy tried to go inside on me, but I got my hand up too high trying to stop him. It was an accident, but that is part of the game."

Dunlap notes the offensive line has been working hard to get better after inconsistent outings in game one and two. "I believe we made huge progress," he says. "I guess that showed since we scored a touchdown on every drive."

The big tackle says it was a fun Saturday all-around because the Tigers took control early and that gave the coaching staff a chance to clear the bench. "It's great when everybody gets to play," he notes. "I had a lot of fun out there and I think the whole team did."

Dunlap is expected to be back in a reserve role next week with McNeill likely to return for Saturday's homecoming game vs. Western Kentucky.

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